…If the wider interpretation applied, it would mean that “almost all articles or instruments can be considered as fit for some unlawful purposes,” the top court ruled.
“In other words, under this construction, section 17 is in reality a thought crime, depending on what a defendant’s intent was at the material time (subject to proof). There is simply no warrant to suggest that this was the legislative intent,” the judgement read.
The ruling clearly favours the protection of citizens against abuses of state power. However, Samuel Bickett is not too impressed…
DOJ’s use of this law was so clearly wrong that it was nearly impossible for the CFA to rule otherwise. This seems to be the CFA’s pattern in political cases: hear political cases & rule in favor of Hongkongers only when lower court practice is so absurd as to be indisputable.
Having been told that Hong Kong does not have separation of powers, the courts will usually refrain from exercising independence in order to forestall measures that overtly and forcefully bring them into line.
An SCMP story suggests that even a relatively gutsy CFA will be unable to withstand the imminent local Article 23 NatSec Law. This will, in effect, absorb colonial-era sedition, ‘incitement of hatred’ and other offenses into the NatSec framework of guilt-presuming pre-trial treatment and harsh post-trial penalties…
[Justice Secretary Paul] Lam also defended the recent sentencing of veteran activist Koo Sze-yiu to nine months in jail on a sedition charge, saying no one had been punished solely for hurling abuses against the government.
“You can’t take things out of context. Criticism is absolutely not problematic, as the law clearly states that it is not seditious if the intention is to point out defects in hope for improvements and remedy,” he said. “The recently convicted cases did involve seditious intentions to overthrow the regime.”
What if, like Koo, you believe the one-party system is a defect and call for it to end as a remedy?